Our Indiana’s legislative overlords concentration on bullying trans kids and impoverishing public education evidently leaves them little time or interest in solving the state’s real problems, like the lack of affordable housing and/or the plight of low-income renters.
As I’ve indicated before, tenants in Indiana have almost no rights and no recourse against bad actor landlords. Indiana law–or really, the lack thereof– is an open invitation to out-of-state buyers of real property, with the result that Indianapolis is now first in the nation for out-of-state ownership of rental property. (In most cities, around 3% of rental properties are owned by out-of-state investors. In Indianapolis, the percentage is 15% and climbing.)
We have an eviction crisis, made more severe by Indiana’s lack of affordable housing. The Greater Indianapolis Multi-Faith Alliance (GIMA) reports that Indiana has a gap of 135,033 rental units affordable for Hoosiers in the bottom 30% of the income distribution. Indiana has the single highest housing cost burden among all Midwest states for those residents.
As a result,many Hoosiers are spending 50-80% of their incomes on rent. One minor emergency – an issue with a car, an emergency room visit, a layoff– can cause a spiral into evictions.
Indianapolis ranks #2 in the country for evictions. Only New York is higher, and costs are a huge factor; Marion County rents have increased an average of 20% since 2020, while wages have only increased by 4%.
As GIMA has reported, out-of-state institutional investors are drawn to Indiana for its landlord-friendly laws, a situation that doesn’t just hurt renters, but drives up costs for would-be homebuyers as well.
Some other statistics: Sixty percent of rental property owners in Indiana live in Illinois, California, Georgia, Texas, and Florida. Indiana is on track for more than 30% of all residential property purchases to be by investors. Indianapolis is #1 among U.S. cities for out-of-state corporate investment in real estate.
GIMA is trying to get legislators’ attention.
It is supporting HB 1005, Rep. Doug Miller’s bill to establish a residential housing infrastructure assistance program and revolving fund.
Rep. Miller’s bill will be particularly beneficial in rural Indiana, which highlights that this is not an urban, city-focused issue. It affects all of Indiana. Providing state-supported programs to build more housing is critical to stopping the evictions crisis. We would encourage our legislators to take this first, modest step to show the people of Indiana that they come first, that human dignity is a Hoosier value, and that housing is critical to human well-being.
The organization is also supporting SB114., a bipartisan measure sponsored by Sen. Eric Koch, Sen. Shelli Yoder and Sen. Stacey Donato. That bill was prompted by an incident that received widespread publicity: in February of last year, Citizens Energy shut off the water supply for 868 tenants of Capital Place and Berkley Commons apartments for 21 hours, because the landlord, JPC Charities, owed $1.3m in missed utility payments.
Citizens Energy Group certainly deserves to be paid for its services, but tenants should be able to apply pressure by paying their rents into escrow accounts until the landlord remedies its misbehavior.
As GIMA’s policy paper put it,
This incident highlights the reality that tenants in Indiana have almost no rights, no power, and no recourse from bad actor landlords. It also highlights the impact that out-of-state investment in rental properties is having in our state… This small step will help send a message that Indiana is no longer ripe for “do-what-you want” property owners.
GIMA’s concerns about Hoosier tenants’ lack of legal recourse is shared by State Senator Fady Qaddoura. Last session, Qaddoura introduced legislation allowing renters to put their rent in escrow if a landlord did not make timely repairs to serious problems. He noted at the time that Indiana is one of just a handful of states without some mechanism allowing tenants to withhold payment of rent until repairs are completed.
Qaddoura has reintroduced that measure, together with some additions that would require out-of-state landlords to contract with real estate property managers inside Indiana.
“The philosophy here is that if you live and operate in Indiana, you’re not going to risk the reputation of your business to engage in deceptive practices on behalf of an out-of-state, negligent, corporate landlord,” he said.
Qaddoura also wants to increase state income tax deductions for tenants – currently set at $3,000.
You would think these bills would pass easily– they simply reflect a fairer balance between landlords and tenants–but this is Indiana, so of course, you’d be wrong. As a friend who knows her way around the Statehouse tells me, the Indiana Apartment Association has ruled with impunity in the General Assembly for decades, and continues to do so.
The IAA represents landlords–homegrown or not–and couldn’t care less about tenants. Particularly low-income Hoosiers who struggle to pay those escalating rents.
12 thoughts on “And Then There’s Indiana’s Housing Crisis…”
This deeply disturbing blog today illustrates just one of the many downward spiraling, politically- driven “actions” by Republicans who have WAY too much power when in elected office. It’s a nationwide thing. As I read news – not op-eds – I see this same disfunction, in one form or another, EVERYWHERE.
Republicans have substituted culture wars for serving the people who elected them. Republicans have totally capitulated to the demons of greed and corruption. They are now completely beholden to the Benjamins. The people? They simply don’t care about the people? They don’t care about governing.
The Republican party has become the worst of itself for the sake of their cockeyed views of religion and what those desperately emasculated white males are enduring as they struggle with their testosterone levels.
Stories like those above, just break my heart. I never imagined that in my lifetime I would see us try to re-invent some version of 1859. What DeSantis and Scott are doing in Florida, what that babbling monkey Ron Johnson is doing for Wisconsin and what the alien in Texas, Ted Cruz is doing there all adds up to a failed state.
What’s really weird is that there doesn’t seem to be an end-game for these Republican fools. They seem content to just keep lying and deluding themselves into thinking that they’re the best choice for the American people. Even the pathologically power-mad Nikki Haley stated that we are not a racist nation. Yeah. That kind of delusion. Typical Republican.
I’m beginning to think that Dr. Stan has a valid point.
I’m glad I’m old.
“The IAA represents landlords–homegrown or not–and couldn’t care less about tenants. Particularly low-income Hoosiers who struggle to pay those escalating rents.”
From down here at grass roots level, peering through the weeds, at age 85 and being totally deaf and physically disabled, living on Social Security below the average payment and the Indiana Republican Senate lowering my Public Employee Retirement Fund retirement checks; I find myself in a quandary. I am blessed to own my 66 year old home, that low income does pay my few bills and put food on my antique table but…the unending maintenance and repairs on my home are expensive, I must now pay for general maintenance such as lawn care and house cleaning I can no longer do myself but I cannot afford rent in a decent place to live with hopes that it is even nominally safe. The Indiana landlord situation controls not only renters but also effects me and thousands of other Indiana home owners in deteriorating neighborhoods, including Republicans. We are trapped in what appears to be a viable situation but the drawbacks are numerous and cost prohibitive.
Republicans in Indiana and throughout this nation are not conservative or woke in the original definition of either term. That includes the elected officials and their voters who are working against Republicans in my situation who continue voting for them. Nikki Haley’s campaign foundation list contains mental competency tests for candidates; that is long overdue as we now face continuation of the battle against the results of the past president’s mental incompetence and that of sitting and newly elected officials with the 2024 presidential race now upon us.
Trump and all his fascist wannabes claim to be raging war against the Washington or statehouse swamps. However, none of them are making life better for the people. They rage war against the Democrats, not the systems that negatively impact the people.
They are champions of the corporate systems (oligarchy) which rule with power and money to get what they want. The definition of fascism is the fusion of corporate and political power.
Those turds like DeSantis use their office to circumvent institutions with a structure that doesn’t include the governor’s office. DeSantis then replaces their board or interjects himself in an old-style power grab.
In other words, they become the beast they claim to be raging war against. Unless the donors cut them off, they’ll continue replacing a corrupted system with a corrupt fascist one.
If you notice, the people claim they want socialism (Leftists), and our federal Democrats denounced socialism on the floor of Congress. There is no opposition to Fascism for a reason.
Also, there is a media blackout on Seymour Hersh’s article on the Nord Stream pipeline sabotage, the shooting down of 3 UFOs, and the ecological disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. The police in E. Palestine even arrested a journalist on the ground — so much for democracy.
I’d also suggest tightening anti-corruption legal and regulatory oversight and enforcement around real estate transactions, especially involving cash purchases by out of state buyers. The Capital Place and Berkley Commons issue just sent up red flags for me- buy commercial rental property in another state with lax or little legal and regulatory oversight of landlords, then walk off with $1.3 million in unpaid utility fees siphoned out of the rental income. While that’s just straight out theft, I’d also look at large cash transactions from out-of-state buyers for money laundering, especially if it looks like the buyer is a shell company. The absence of legal and regulatory oversight in Indiana is not only harmful to renters, but it’s an open invitation for financial crime.
There are some conservatives that visit this site such as Paul Ogden and I appreciate the additional viewpoints that they bring. If Paul reads today’s post I would like to hear if he can defend the unbalanced landlord/tennant laws that our Republican legislature has enacted.
I’m betting that the legislature will show the people of Indiana that, if they want to come first, they have to find some other place to do it. Just so you know, it’s even worse in the not so free state of Florida. Rent hikes in my area were down from the year before, when they hit fifty percent.
It’s not just rent and the chicanery it invites with lax laws and local ordinances. I just paid $282.00 for a mounted tire on my Chevrolet here in Florida. Grocery prices here are higher than high and I believe it when I read that Florida is the highest priced state in the union in which to live these days. I’m here to close the sale of my home on other grounds, to wit: my refusal to live any longer under the rule of a fascist governor, Herr Ron DeFascist.
Perhaps when sanity in both Tallahassee and the market returns (if ever) and I’m still around I will return and, depending on market pricing, try my luck again; perhaps not. I’m still thinking Vermont as a residence and Saint Croix during winters.
“…evidently leaves them little time or interest….” How about
there is almost certainly no interest at all?!
I believe these bills aimed to help Indiana’s ridiculously burdened renters have already been killed – via summer study committee. The requirement that a landlord make “a good faith effort” to fix a problem if the tenant had lost power/gas/water was seen as far too onerous on those poor owners.
To paraphrase the GOP axe wielder in this case, “The tenants saw the condition of the apartment when I showed it to them. Why should it be up to me to fix anything if they agreed to move in?”
The World’s Worst Legislature (TM) indeed.
Well, firstly, you really cannot misunderstand the general welfare clause in the Constitution.(article 1 section 8 C1.2.7) so if you read the clause, it’s to provide for the welfare, the general welfare of the citizens of this country through taxations and other methods. So, why aren’t the states taking care of the general welfare of its citizenry? I mean, I’ve posted articles all over the place on this very subject. And there’s no reason why the citizens of this country have to struggle to survive. Why there’s so many homeless, why people are picked on for their Race, Creed, or preference!
Last I checked, even the originalists can’t argue with that, because there were still race issues, there were still creed issues, and there definitely were plenty of preference issues back in the day! Of course just like today, the race mixing and individual preference should be left to the bedroom, but, it was an issue then and it is still an issue today.
Government absolutely has to stay out of the bedroom, but, they are constitutionally obligated to work towards all citizens being able to have a bedroom, and, not a bridge viaduct!
The government can force the issue to make sure everyone is taken care of in this country, no matter what level of society a citizen dwells in, they have a basic human right to food, shelter, equality under the law, and that includes educational opportunities, work opportunities, and quality of life! The federal government cannot allow each state to treat its citizenry differently. We are all bound by the same laws! And, we all are entitled to the same civil and human rights, No matter shade, spot, or stripe! If you can send tens and hundreds of billions of dollars overseas for a war that you are basically not involved in, you should be able to take care of your citizens!
…then there is this…
The legislators on the fascist right, here in Indiana are attempting to pass a bill that would require nominees for school board positions to post their political affiliation on the ballot …’R’ or ‘D’…
Next, we see them requiring that they declare their religious preference…then a short slide into declaring their sexual orientation.
As one who does not eat meat, I feel that my food choices will eventually be required . Finally, I can see where a dna chart might be their final assault on our dignity and our civil rights to autonomy.
We citizens of this state might wish to consider that our own house is infested with many who are more interested in attacking our rights rather than protecting them. BTW… LANDLORD…. LORDS OF THE LAND… How freaking archaic and feudal can we get. No wonder renters have few, if any rights. The terminology that continues to consider class distinction may well be contributing to the lack of equal rights/responsibilities in the relationship between the owner and the renter… Just a thought…
And yet, people continue to vote for these clowns.
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